Papo & Yo

Papo & Yo cover art

Papo & Yo is an indie video game telling the story of a boy and his abusive, alcoholic father.  In the game, you are a kid in a magical world that has to interact with a monster to solve puzzles.  The monster is friendly until he eats a frog, at which point he becomes enraged.  In the game, the boy deals with the monster until, at the end, the metaphor is explicitly called out, and the boy gets some closure.  Overall, I liked the game a fair amount -- it told a story well, and the conclusion was good -- though I think the game could have been better.

Jim Butcher - Furies of Calderon

The Furies of Calderon cover

I have read 15 books by Jim Butcher in the Dresden Files universe, so I decided to give his other series, Codex Alera, a shot.

Background

Unlike the Dresden Files, which are urban fantasy, Codex Alera is a more traditional fantasy series. Magic involves controlling elemental spirits (fire, earth, air, water, metal, and wood), and all humans, except for Tavi, the protagonist, can do some degree of magic. There are several other sentient races in the world, but the Alerans are modeled after Romans.  There is also plenty of political intrigue and romance.

Mark of the Ninja

Mark of the Ninja cover art

In Mark of the Ninja, you play a ninja trying to get back at a high tech weapons manufacturer for attacking your clan.  It's a fairly standard stealth game -- there are lots of guards to hide from, bypass, or assasinate.  There are some interesting skills that you gain throughout the game (eg, ravenous insects that can devour an enemy) and some challenges.  To get the full points on each level takes a bit of work, but the game itself isn't very hard.  The ending was okay, but it felt a bit lacking.  Overall, the game was fun, but it wasn't anything special.

The Benefits of an Elite Education, or How to Get the Most Out of College

When I was in high school, the common knowledge was that a stereotypically elite school wasn't much better than any other school, especially at the undergraduate level, so I shouldn't worry too much about where I go to school.  My experience at Stanford has convinced me that there is a large benefit to going to a stereotypically elite school, but I think that a motivated student can thrive at any school.

Do Good Now, or Why Public Service People Should Take Public Service Jobs

A lot of college students who want to save the world end up taking jobs in investment banking or management consulting, and some have asked me for my thoughts on the issue.  I'm not arguing in this article that there is anything wrong with those career choices, but I do think that it is wrong for someone who is primarily interested in public service and who is not passionate about banking or consulting to take one of those jobs.

Do Good Now

Antichamber

The Antichamber logo

Antichamber is a non-Euclidian puzzle game, which basically means that it's good at messing with your mind.  In many ways, the game is like an indie Portal.  Both are very fun puzzle games that challenge the way you think about problems.

Voice Power

The cover for Voice Power

If you have any experience with your voice, don't bother with this book.

"Voice Power" has some advice that is probably good, but it's buried in a mountain of meh where the author talks about how his advice comes from admiring Elvis and how the author knows all kinds of rock stars.  

Update: December, 2013

I graduated with a masters on June 16, 2013, and I started at Google on June 24, 2013.  Thus, I have now worked there for half a year.  Everything is going very well.  

Reus

The Reus logo

Reus is a fun god game.  You control four giants (ocean, mountain, forest, and swamp) that are trying to foster humanity by controlling the environment.  The game is fairly simple -- you can put animals, plants, and minerals down near towns, and you can upgrade each of those natural sources, and humans sometimes war with each other if they get too greedy.

Digitize ALL the books!

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